The past couple of weeks at my internship have been really tough, which is what I expected when I signed on to be an intern for one of the biggest American fashion designers. When I told my friends and family that I would be interning with Osar de la Renta they immediately started with “The Devil Wears Prada” references, but I was so determined not to be a cliche of the fashion intern. I told myself before starting that no matter what I won’t allow anyone to get to me, and that it can’t possibly be that hard. Fast forward to my last couple of weeks there and I can honestly say that the biggest challenge for me has been on a personal not intellectual level.
Nothing that I have been asked to do as a fashion intern has been intellectually challenging. Sure there were some Excel spreadsheets that I had to consult with Google about, but the challenges that proposed the greatest opportunity for change were those of a personal nature. For a girl that has struggled with confidence issues for most of her life, going into a situation where emotions and egos run high would seem like a mental death sentence, but I looked at as an opportunity for growth in this area of my life. It is when we are at our lowest point that we are open to our greatest change. I learned that from Avatar the Last Airbender, one of my favorite cartoons, you should check it out, but I digress.
These past couple of weeks I have been yelled at, embarrassed, overlooked, and treated like an overall nuisance just for being around. My boss who initially treated me like a mentee all of a sudden couldn’t remember my name and refused to speak to me or even acknowledge my compliments on her work. Initially this marginalization made me feel inferior, until I remembered how important it is to have a strong sense of self in all situations. It’s so easy to fall into a place where you are allowing others to define you based on what’s going on in their lives.
We can only react to things and judge situations and people based on our experiences. You cannot react beyond your own scope of knowledge, which is why self worth is so important. A person may be treating you a certain way out of reaction to what’s going within them, and you can’t allow that to shake you. It’s not your business what others think of you or why they think that, so long as you are secure in what YOU think of you.
Sense of self and security in one’s self was pretty much the overriding theme of my life for the month of April, so I’m happy to carry these lessons learned with me as I embark on this professional and personal journey to break into fashion media. This industry is based on image, and emotions run high, so holding on to you is key. Otherwise you’ll be lost trying to please a bunch of people that in the grand scheme of things are miscellaneous.